Meteor rattles Russia
Most of those hurt, in the Chelyabinsk region where the meteor fell, suffered cuts and bruises but at least 46 remain in hospital.
A fireball streaked through the clear morning sky, followed by loud bangs.
President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.
A large meteor fragment landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in Chelyabinsk region.
The meteor’s dramatic passing was witnessed in Yekaterinburg, 200 kilometres to the north, and in Kazakhstan, to the south.
“It was quite extraordinary,” Chelyabinsk resident Polina Zolotarevskaya told BBC News. “We saw a very bright light and then there was a kind of a track, white and yellow in the sky.”
“The explosion was so strong that some windows in our building and in the buildings that are across the road and in the city in general, the windows broke.”
Officials say a large meteor partially burned up in the lower atmosphere, resulting in fragments falling earthwards.
Thousands of rescue workers have been dispatched to the area to provide help to the injured, the emergencies ministry said.
The Chelyabinsk region, about 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow, is home to many factories, a nuclear power plant and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.
Chelyabinsk’s health department said 985 people had sought medical treatment, including 204 children, Russia’s Interfax news agency reports. Two people in the town of Kopeysk were in a serious condition, it added. (BBC)